Steve swaps the Nissan 350Z for a blast in the GT4-spec model at Silverstone with the Nissan GT Academy.[Not a valid template]
|Date acquired:||August 2011|
|Kilometres this month:||0|
|Costs this month:||$0|
|L/100km this month:||N/A|
It’s always a great thing to go on holiday. This month saw me heading to South Africa for a two week fishing trip. It was bass and boats the whole time I was there. I couldn’t have asked for a greater vacation. I got back and immediately started my car, and drove her around the block, because I wouldn’t be able to drive her for the rest of the month. Then there was England.
Long story short, I recently won a competition with Sony Middle East and Gran Turismo 6. The competition would pit the fastest virtual drivers across the Middle East against each other in a regional final at Yas Marina Circuit, and the winner got a weekend racing experience at Silverstone. Not unlike the Nissan GT Academy last year, but this time would see no competition. Boy am I glad I skipped the penultimate round of Extreme Super Lap.
So when I got back from South Africa, I spent a few days at home, packed a bag for England and off I went. I was collected by the familiar face of Matt Stephens, a rally instructor and GT Academy Engineer, who shuttled me to the hotel in which I had stayed the previous year near Silverstone. I was later fetched by Charlie Watt, who is one of the few instructors behind the scenes, tasked with making the GT Academy finalists and winners the fastest they can possibly be.
Two days of Karts, Simulators, 370Zs and one very, very fast GT4 Spec 350Z, all with Charlie coaching me one on one, every step of the way. It was immediately clear why Charlie is one of the best at what he does. Each stint in the simulator and the 370Z would be followed with a clear, concise data analysis session explaining my strengths, faults and his suggestions of how to improve. My lap times in the Nissan plummeted each session.
Then came the GT4. I couldn’t help thinking about how similar it looked to my very own Z. I almost felt out of my league getting into it. Even though it was a 350Z not unlike my own, the differences were staggering. The Quaife Sequential gearbox, Pectel ECU, VBox Data system, Ohlins coilovers, seam-welded and lightened chassis, carbon doors and bodywork, AP Racing calipers, lexan windows, FIA spec rollcage, and an endurance fuel tank are only some of the items in a very long list of differences to my very simply modified car. I can’t forget to mention the air jack system either. When Matt dropped the car onto the tyres ready for me to drive, it was like I’d died and gone to heaven.
The weekend of racing was over all too quickly, and it was time for me to go home. With summer on the way, I’ll be saving up to pay for some of the checklist I have on record here. I look forward to using what I learned from Charlie next season. The fact that I was overtaking Ferraris, Nissan GT-Rs and Aston Martins through the corners in what was originally nothing more than a car exactly like mine has got me yearning for more. I’ll be dusting off my girl before the end of the month for a shakedown with my new suspension, so look forward to an exciting article next month.
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